What Happens When I Switch Electricity Providers

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If you have ever switched electricity providers, you might be aware of the important steps you need to take to make sure you compare gas and electricity to find the best deal. However, it can be really useful to know what goes on behind the scenes, to help you plan your switch and get connected to your new account with no fuss.

This guide will take you step-by-step through what goes on when you make the switch to a new energy provider.

On this page

  • Things to consider when you switch retailers
  • Switching electricity retailers’ timeline

Things to consider when you switch retailers

You should compare electricity plans every 12 months or when you move house to ensure you have the best and cheap plan available. Before choosing your new plan, you should consider these factors:

  • Your household’s energy requirements
    • Size of your home
    • Number of residents
    • Work from home arrangements
    • Heating and cooling system
    • Solar panels
    • Gas or connect electricity only
  • Energy plan features
    • Type of contract (fixed or flexible)
    • Discounts and special offers
    • Late payment fees
    • Customer service
    • Exit fees 
  • Exit fees of your current provider (you could avoid exit fees by timing the switch for the end of your current contract).

To find out more about how to compare energy plans and make the switch, read our guide: How to Switch Electricity Providers. Or, if you would rather talk to an expert, our team is waiting to help. Call us on 1300 786 045 or enter your details online.

Switching electricity retailer’s timeline

Once you have decided on your new plan, the following chain of events will be set in motion. 

  • You accept the offer from your new retailer

This is the stage where you ‘sign the contract’. In most cases, you can accept the offer over the phone by agreeing to the terms and conditions that will be read out by the sales representative. Make sure you listen carefully, even to the boring bits! This is your chance to ask any final questions about your new plan.

Most retailers now also offer the option to sign up online, and some even offer a discount for doing so. This is a very convenient option, but remember to read the fine print!

  • A cooling-off period commences (usually 10 days)

Every retailer in Australia is legally required to give you a cooling-off period. During this time, if you change your mind about switching or find a better offer, you can cancel your new contract with no ramifications. Once the cooling-off period has lapsed, if you change your mind you will be subject to any exit fees or other penalties for leaving early, as stipulated in your agreement.

  • Your new retailer raises a transfer request

The transfer request lets your distributor know that you are changing retailers so that any network fees, special meter reads or maintenance and upgrade fees will be passed on to your new provider.

  • Your current retailer receives a notification of a transfer

When the transfer request is raised, your current retailer will also be notified. Although this will happen automatically, you should also notify your current provider of your intention to switch and the planned date to make sure your changeover happens smoothly. You should give at least 5 business days’ notice.

At this stage (still during the cooling-off period), your current retailer will likely make you an offer to try to convince you to stay with them. You should consider this offer before the cooling-off period expires to avoid any penalties if you decide the offer is too good to miss.

  • Your distributor takes a meter read

A meter reader will visit your home to take a final meter read on the day of the switch. Normally, there is no need for you to be home for a meter read unless there is restricted access. If you have a smart meter installed, this can be done virtually with no need for anyone to visit.

You should also take note of the reading yourself by taking a high-resolution photo, in case there are any discrepancies down the line.

  • Your current retailer receives your meter read to calculate your final bill

The distributor will provide your meter reading to your current retailer (or they will receive it from your smart meter) who will issue your final bill. You should double-check the reading on your bill to make sure it matches your own, particularly if you are moving providers outside the normal billing cycle. 

If you have any exit fees, these will be included in this bill.

  • Your new retailer receives your meter read to open your new account

The distributor, or your smart meter, will also provide your new retailer with a reading. Again, when you receive your bill, you should cross-check with your own reading to make sure you are paying the right amount.

If you have connection fees or a meter upgrade related to your switch, they will be included in your first bill.

  • You pay your final bill to your current retailer and your account is closed

It’s important to pay your final bill on time because this will impact your credit rating in the future, which can restrict the offers and deals that you are eligible for. If you cannot afford to pay your bill in full, you should contact your retailer to arrange a payment plan before the due date.

  • Your energy is received from your new retailer

There should be no disruption to your energy supply when the changeover happens. If you do encounter a power outage, contact your new retailer immediately to report the issue.

  •  You receive your first bill from your new account

When your first bill arrives, make sure it includes the tariffs, special offers and discounts that you are expecting from your new plan, and enjoy the savings!

Remember, if you make the switch with CheapBills, we will oversee the whole process for you and be a phone call away if any issues arise at any point.

Next steps

If you haven’t compared your energy bill in 12 months or more, you are probably paying more than you should for your gas and electricity.

Talk to one of our experts to find out if there’s a better deal for your home, and in the same easy phone call, we can recommend internet providers and compare NBN plans and Pay TV Australia providers to save you more!

Call us on 1300 786 045 or enter your details online.

Important Note: All the rates, plans and offers stated in this article are subject to change at the provider’s discretion and might not be updated after the publish date unless stated otherwise. We try our best to update all the rates mentioned in our blogs as soon as possible. All articles updated will have the update dates mentioned. Thank you for your patience!